Share house: Find a cheap and comfortable room in Japan

Share house: Find a cheap and comfortable room in Japan 1920 1080 Michaël da Silva Paternoster
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Share house in Japan

In this article, I explain what is a share house in Japan and why it’s the best accommodation for foreigners who wants to settle in any major city in this country. I also share a special discount on Oakhouse accommodations, which I recommend. Click on the link below to pre-register to get it!

Get a ¥5000 discount on pre-registration now!

Share houses are the cheapest accommodation type you can find in Tokyo or in other major metropolitan cities in Japan. Here you can share a big apartment or house with Japanese and foreign housemates.

As Japanese cities become more populated, the need for more inexpensive yet comfortable living spaces is becoming more predominant. Fortunately, if you are planning to travel, study or work for more than one month in Japan, you don’t have to break a bank to rent a home. Thanks to share houses, you can now enjoy a quiet living space at a pocket-friendly price.

Not sure what a share house is? Don’t worry because we got you covered! Below is a complete guide on choosing among the share houses available in Japan.

What is a share house

As the name implies, a share house is a type of accommodation that allows people to share a single house or big apartment. The idea is quite simple: you rent your own room and you share common areas such as bathrooms, toilets, lounge and kitchen space with other tenants.

If you are not used to this kind of living arrangement, you might be most concerned about losing your sense of privacy. Nonetheless, since a share house offers you your own private space, you don’t really have to worry about trying to get along with other tenants if it’s not in your wish list. You can enjoy your own quiet time and make the most out of your living space without worrying about anyone but yourself.

To top it off, share houses that offer extra amenities also exist in Tokyo and and in other cities in Japan. Designed for groups of people that have common interests, these specialized share houses conform with a specific theme. Whether you are a sports enthusiasts or an aspiring gardener, you can surely find a share house tailored for your personal needs.

Room Types in Share Houses

Share houses offer tenants limitless options that optimize livability. If you are new to Japan and you have to work under a tight budget, you can look for several room types that can meet not just your budget, but your needs and expectations as well. As a guide, below are some of the room types you can choose from:

Simple room in a share house

Single room

Enjoy your own private space without sacrificing a big chunk of your budget by renting out a single room. Ideal for single tenants and for those in couple, a single room allows you to create your own space while sharing common areas with other tenants in the house.

Shared room in a share house

Shared room

One of the most affordable types of accommodation, a shared room offers you a comfortable living space and adequate storage at an extremely low price. Unlike a single room, a shared room is rented out to two or more tenants.

Semi-private room in a share house

Semi-private room

Although shared by multiple tenants, a semi-private room still provides a sense of privacy as each bed is separated by a curtain or a divider. Just like a shared room, a semi-private room is rented out at a low price.

Compartments in a share house


A compartment is a living space for around four tenants. Ideal for those with a limited budget, a compartment can be compared to capsule hotels in terms of cost-efficiency and living arrangement.

Dormitory in a share house


A living area that can accommodate several people, dormitories are designed with bunk beds and a security container. Among the five room types, dormitories are typically the cheapest.

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Common Areas in Share Houses

Regardless of the room types they feature, all share houses are designed with common areas including a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet and a shared lounge or living room. Aside from facilitating comfort and convenience, these areas also give tenants an opportunity to bond and socialize.

Plus, if your budget allows you to explore more options, you can look for share houses that offer luxurious amenities. In Tokyo and in other progressive cities in the country, share houses built with libraries, theater rooms, rehearsal studios, private bars, co-working spaces and sento (Japanese baths) are available for Japanese and foreign residents. There are also living spaces that are designed for groups of people with common interests.

Hence, choosing a home just boils down to two things: budget and personal preferences. Whether you love dancing or reading a good book, you can surely find a share home that could fit your specific wants and needs.

Rent of share houses

Want to save money without sacrificing comfort and convenience? Book a share house.
Just like in other cities, the pricing of each room greatly depends on factors like location, proximity to a station, available amenities and household services. Usually cheaper than a studio-type home, a share house grants you access to basic facilities while enabling you to create and enjoy your own space.

Why are share houses so popular in Japan

Living in a share house has already been integrated into the Japanese culture. Just like a gaijin house, which is a type of accommodation suited for foreigners, a share house is able to accommodate several tenants for an extended period of time.

Share House Merits

Not only is renting out a room in a share house budget-friendly, but it is also the most practical choice if you seek to live in one of the metropolitan cities within Japan. Not sure if a share house can be your best option? Below are some of the many advantages in living in one.

Easy to make friends

Whether you are studying or working abroad, moving to a new city is always a huge leap of faith. It involves taking a couple of steps away from everything you are accustomed to–including your family and friends. The good news is, living in a share house grants you a golden ticket to social gatherings. All share homes are designed with common areas where people come together to socialize and bond. By living in a share home, you can easily meet new friends as you explore Japan.

Improve your Japanese

It may be difficult to converse to Japanese natives the first time you step foot in Japan, but you can always improve through practice. By choosing a share home, you can socialize with locals and hone your Japanese-speaking skills. Who knows? You might also be able to teach them some English words too. It’s basically a win-win situation.

Inexpensive accommodation

The more you share, the more you save–this may be the mantra behind a share house. Unlike apartments that require key money or gift money, share houses have an easier payment scheme. In fact, most share homes don’t demand new tenants to pay a deposit. Aside from the low monthly rentals, you just need to pay for maintenance fees as you move in. No more skyrocketing down payments needed, just easy and pocket-friendly fees that can help you move forward as you start anew in Japan.

No waiting

Tired of waiting or filling in paperwork whenever you’re moving into a new home? Take a shortcut by booking a share house now. Unlike other types of accommodation, share houses accept residents that urgently need to move into Tokyo or in other Japanese cities.

Short-term stay

Share houses offer you the perfect living arrangement even if you are planning to stay in Japan for just a few months. Cheaper than a hotel and an apartment, a room in a share house doesn’t require a deposit, enabling you to save money during your stay.

Furnished rooms

Think there’s no way you can move into a new home in Japan without splurging on household items? Think again! Share houses are fully-furnished and move-in ready, so you can ditch the trucking service. Plus, you also get to avail free wifi services, so you won’t need to worry about getting connected. Indeed, renting a share house is the most cost-efficient and hassle-free way to get settled in Japan.

No housework

If you are tired of spending time on daunting household chores, a share house is the best option for you. By living in a shared accommodation, you can make the most out of your free time without worrying about all the household clutter. Although you may need to clean your own room, you don’t need to worry about the rest of the house.

Share Houses Demerits

Just like other accommodation types in Japan, there are also disadvantages in living in a share house. To help you make well-rounded decisions, below are some of the things you may need to sacrifice once you choose this living space:


Living in a share house is all about making compromises. Not because you’ve locked yourself away from other tenants, it already means you can live privately all the time. Since you are basically living with other residents, there are times when you can hear conversations through walls, especially if other tenants are entertaining personal guests.

Share house rules

Every residence has a set of rules and regulations, and a share house is no exemption. If you are inviting guests over for a couple of days, you’d need to check the policies in your share home first so you won’t make have problems with your managing company.

Messy housemates

Living in a share home makes life simpler since your room is your main responsibility. However, you still have to be open to interacting with different types of people because you don’t get to choose who to live with. Whether you like it or not, you are going to share common areas with other tenants.

Who lives in share houses in Japan

Share houses are open to local and international residents, making it the perfect avenue to meet new people and break down cultural barriers. In Japan, thousands of rooms are available for residents of differing age groups.

Gender of residents





Share houses are not really gender-specific, but if there’s a ratio between male and female residents, it’s down to around 50-50. In Tokyo and in other parts of Japan, share houses that are exclusively for women are rising in popularity. So whether you prefer living in an exclusive share house or not, there is always an ideal option for you.

Resident age








40's & +

According to studies, a large percentage of people in their 20’s and 30’s choose to live in a share house, with figures reaching around 54% and 33%, respectively. This is mainly because of factors including low cost and the opportunity to meet new people. Residents in their 40’s and 50’s, on the other hand, usually prefer other living arrangements.

Japanese and Foreigners

Cultural sensitivity bridges the gap not just between people, but between races and nations too. Aside from its low initial and monthly costs, share houses provide people the chance to socialize and connect at a deeper level.

Based on statistics, around 60% of residents in share houses are Japanese, while the remaining percentage are foreigners who seek to travel, study or live in Japan. As residents in these living spaces become more diverse, more and more people are also able to gain intercultural understanding.

As a bonus, foreigners don’t only get the chance to meet new friends, but they can also learn more about the Japanese language by engaging into day-to-day conversations with locals in the share home. Locals, on the other hand, can also benefit from living with foreigners, especially if their aim is to learn English. With all this in mind, living in a share home enables you to develop interpersonal skills.

Residents Occupation

Share houses in Tokyo and other metropolitan cities in Japan welcome people regardless of age and occupation. With most occupants in their 20’s and 30’s, many are either working or studying in Japan.


Share houses are the most ideal and cost-efficient home for local and foreign exchange students. Dormitories, along with other room types, can give students the chance to interact with each other while having a comfortable living space and a study area.

Salarymen and Office Ladies

Since share houses are much cheaper than apartments and other living spaces, a large percentage of employees choose to live in a share home. Aside from its low initial and monthly fees, share houses are the most practical choice since tenants don’t need to worry about maintaining the house.

Freelancers and Artists

Many artists and freelancers opt to live in a share home because it offers them a sense of privacy at a low price. Aside from this, share homes that follow a particular theme provide artists a conducive place to work and to stay creative.

Unadapted profiles

Cost-efficient and low maintenance, share houses are the perfect home for students and employees living in Tokyo and other Japanese cities. However, just like other accommodation types, share houses are not for everybody.

Single mothers or fathers

Although share homes are open to everyone, single parents may have to explore other accommodation types since share houses do not have the facilities suitable for children. Oakhouse, one of the leading share housing company in Japan, made an attempt to build share homes that feature a kindergarten. However, the municipality refused to provide a permit since it can compete against public service providers. Add to that, raising children in a single room can be extremely difficult for single parents. So if you are planning to move to Japan, it’s best that you check out the apartments available in the city you’re going to work or study in.

People with pets

Pet-friendly residences are available in Japan, but most do not allow dogs or cats inside their establishment. Aside from minimizing problems with maintenance, share house owners do not permit pets in consideration to other tenants.

Tourists and business travelers

If you are traveling to Japan for just a couple of days or weeks, it is best that you look for a hostel or other cheap accommodation since share houses require a monthly payment from its tenants. If you love exploring, you can also try camping or renting out an overnight bus.

Michaël da Silva Paternoster

I’m a French guy living in Tokyo, where I work as a digital marketing manager and consultant for several years now. I’ve decided to share my travel recommendations and various tips to help people settle in Japan.

All stories by : Michaël da Silva Paternoster